United Biscuits deal is close to the rocks

 
Steve Dinneen
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UNITED Biscuits’ investors held their breath last night after reports a £2bn deal to offload the firm to China’s Bright Foods was close to hitting the rocks.

Blackstone Group and France’s PAI Partners were close to a deal to sell the snack maker after entering exclusive talks but negotiations were near to collapse last night, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sources close to the deal were unsure what had unsettled the Shanghai-based firm but it is believed it is now eyeing alternative acquisitions.

The deal would have been the first time a Chinese company has taken outright control of a major European food firm.

Blackstone refused to comment on the negotiations last night. United Biscuits employs 7,000 people in Britain at 11 factories.